This Canon G7X II vs iPhone X comparison tests to see if phones really can replace compact cameras

Feb 12, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

This Canon G7X II vs iPhone X comparison tests to see if phones really can replace compact cameras

Feb 12, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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There is no doubt that increases in smartphone camera technology has made a huge dent in the sales of compact cameras. Compact cameras, also known as point and shoots, vary wildly from very low end to fairly high. And for stills photography, there’s no doubt that most of the current top smartphones can easily keep up, and even beat, the selection of compacts that are out there.

But what about for video? That’s what Potato Jet aims to find out when he puts his shiny new iPhone X up against vlogging staple, the Canon G7X Mark II. Perhaps not surprisingly, the iPhone actually won in some areas, although the G7X II definitely shone in others. Ultimately, it looks like you’ll mostly be good with either, although specific needs may demand one over the other.

YouTube video

While aimed more at vloggers than cinematic video, it’s a great test. After all, nobody’s shooting cinematic stuff with something like a G7X Mark II. And many vloggers are using both that camera or an iPhone. So, it’s a pretty fair and reasonable comparison. So let’s see how they did.

Resolution & Detail

It’s probably not that much of a surprise that the iPhone X wins out when it comes to detail. After all, it shoots 4K whereas the G7X II is limited to 1080p. That extra resolution, despite being a smaller sensor is most definitely noticeable. Where it does start to fall apart, though, is when you zoom in. This is basically because the iPhone uses digital zoom where the G7X actually has a real zoom lens.

One thing that was particularly interesting in this bit of the comparison was how much better the iPhone seems to handle sunset scenes. There’s a lot more colour in the sky as well as brighter shadows with a little better colour and detail.

Low Light Performance

Well, this is where we see a huge difference between the two, and where the G7X II’s sensor shines. The “larger pixels” of the G7X II’s bigger sensor allow it to see much better in the dark. It also manages it with less noise, fewer compression artifacts and smoother colour, too. Both cameras were set to automatic exposure for this test, which is typically how a vlogger might use such a camera.

Interestingly, when the cameras are outdoors at night, rather than in complete blackness, the iPhone actually seems to do a better job, generally making for a lighter scene with more vibrant colour and, obviously, more detail.

Slow motion

This is another area where the iPhone X absolutely kills it. After all, it can shoot up to 240fps at 1080p whereas the G7X II can only do 60fps. Of course, for probably 95% of the slow motion shots most vloggers will ever need to do, 60fps is plenty fast enough. If you’re playing back at 24fps, that’s a 2.5x slow down on your footage. And the bitrate is probably a little higher on the G7X II, too

But, if you’re regularly shooting fast moving subjects that you really want to slow down, say BMXers or skateboarders, then that 240fps might be an important feature. And don’t laugh, Braille Skateboarding has over 3 million subscribers on YouTube, and all of their slow motion footage is shot with iPhones.

Highlight Roll-off

This is an important one if you’re filming yourself. Highlight roll-off. With the G7X, the slightly flatter appearance retains a lot of the detail in the brightest parts of the skin. On the iPhone, though, the bright bits tend to suddenly pop to brightness rather than transition gradually, giving the impression that skin is very oily or sweaty and shiny.

Optical Image Stabilisation

The iPhone uses tiny lenses, as it’s a tiny camera. As such, any kind of stabilisation also has a very tiny range of movement. So, it’s only going to work well when you’re really trying to steady yourself. If you’re just handholding and walking around, it’s not going to perform miracles. The larger lens, sensor and mechanics of the G7X Mark II easily seem to win out here.

Sound

Of course, this is going to be subjective, and it’s going to vary a lot depending on the conditions in which you’re shooting. In an indoor environment, especially if it’s somewhat treated for sound, or just a room full of things not bouncing sound around, and you’re close, they both sound quite good. Personally, I prefer the cleaner sound of the iPhone in this particular test. The G7X II sounds a little hollow.

The other thing to think about, especially if you’re taking it outdoors, is that the G7X II has no microphone input. At least with the iPhone you can hook up a Rode smartLav+ or VideoMic Me to get some better quality audio, and hopefully cut out any wind & environment noise.

Potato Jet goes through a few more differences between the camera and his conclusions.

But, ultimately, it’s going to depend entirely on your needs.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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8 responses to “This Canon G7X II vs iPhone X comparison tests to see if phones really can replace compact cameras”

  1. Michal Rosa Avatar
    Michal Rosa

    That was one of the worst done comparisons I have ever seen. BTW, physics and optics tend to usually win over hype.

    1. McCormick Avatar
      McCormick

      While I might agree with you regarding glass, the proof is in the pudding. Most consumers don’t care about internals, or what a camera is capable of if they’d just take the time and learn to use it; they just want the easiest way to a great image, and like it or not, in this comparison, the iPhone X delivers exactly that.

  2. Petapros 6.0 ✔ Intel Inside® Avatar
    Petapros 6.0 ✔ Intel Inside®

    When it comes to low light performance bigger sensors always win but in my in opinion when it comes to bright daylight situations the iphone X is better.

  3. Tom Freda Avatar
    Tom Freda

    What a stupid comparison. All the image comparisons here prove is that iPhone does a better job of JPG processing. No surprise there. Canon’s *default* JPGs are notoriously not that good, and certainly not in the same league as Panasonic, Olympus or Fuji. Compare in-camera JPGs that have been tweaked for more DR and sharpness or adjusted raw files and then we’ll talk.

    How do I know this? I had a Fujifilm X10 with a 2/3″ sensor that occasionally would produce files that passed for DSLR images. They were that good. The Canon G7X II has a 1″ sensor that’s 30% bigger and has a comparable lens to the Fuji. So if the author can’t get better IQ with the Canon than what’s shown in this comparison, either the camera is defective or he’s doing something seriously wrong.

  4. tom rose Avatar
    tom rose

    Misleading title. Sloppy comparisons. Too much opinion pretending to be fact. What was the point of this article?

  5. tom rose Avatar
    tom rose

    Was it deliberate that the G7x ii was given no chance to show its strengths. Shoot RAW and it trounces any iPhone.

  6. Jakub Curylo Avatar
    Jakub Curylo

    Look, you are comparing incomaprable – even though the G7 X has an auto mode, the best photos can be made using manual or at least semi-manual settings. Moreover, such tiny optics in a phone can´t overpower such a big lens of the G7 X – if you would shot in manual mode or even in RAW, an iPhone would not have a chance to beat a professional compact camera…

  7. Jonas N Avatar
    Jonas N

    You seem to have triggered some Canon users or at least compact camera fans here, haha. I agree that a RAW comparison or two would have been nice, but for the kind of users owning either a smartphone (which also supports RAW mind you!) or a compact camera, I doubt shooting RAW is frequently the primary choice.

    I shoot with a Fujifilm X-T1 myself and even I don’t use RAW more often than in 10% of the cases where maximum dynamic range or post-processing leeway is preferred.

    And a compact camera should most importantly not rely on RAW shooting to be best matched against a smartphone. That would be an embarrasing failure of its JPEG engine and little else.

    With that, I come to my point. I think this decent comparison illustrates especially one thing: That smartphones, and especially the latest generation of “AI based” smartphones with very strong JPEG processing engines and research backing them, is starting to hit the segment with sensors a size above their class.

    It is time for these manufacturers to wake up before it’s too late. Since this comparison was posted, it is illustrated even more strongly with the iPhone XS which takes AI based photography another whole leap forward.

    Camera manufacturers especially face the price pressure from “only” offering cameras, and not mobile devices covering entire personal lives. Because of this, they must provide clearly superior performance at preferrably lower prices in order to remain competitive.

    In five years, mark my words, 1″ sensor non-superzoom compact camera photography will be dead. It will be killed like how smartphones killed the 2/3″ sensor camera.